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They called me a week after the interview and told me to show up at the office with cake. I was befuddled by this statement- what in the world must they mean? Then I realised the cake was a deal for the job and my eyes turned to saucepans. To think that corruption had spread like cancer even into my beloved RS hurt- bad. How dare they think that I would stoop so low for a position as minion? The atrocity! I planned on going over to the office to give them a piece of my mind.

Ended up giving each of them a slice of cake instead.
By Mastura, newbie that can bakeRS peple from now and then tell of cake, bribes, cure to shyness, catching rats, buying underwear, ocassionally writing and other such RS related experiences.

Generally, my interactions with people lasted for the span of time it takes to buy a pack of gum. I joined RS and got an assignment where I had to interview a school counsellor about drugs in school. Before I could ask the first questions he pelted me with some of his own.

“Why are you asking about drugs?”
“Drugs are bad, are you doing them?” and then the slightly creepier
“Are you looking for some?”

At first I was a little weirded out, but then I realised that I could speak too. So then I threw back a hundred more questions of my own. With my newfound power of interaction, I waged war against the escapist social system. I just learnt to talk to people.
By Anashua, studying in school, saves animals

On 1st December 2011, a year after being part of the Rising Stars team, I wrote the article that got me my first pay. An unassigned article writen out of rage on kids, it got me the wackiest, funniest and some of the best response I've ever received to anything I've done. It was an article on Doraemon.

I still get asked about 'that blue thing'. I wrote in RS for a year without being paid, free labour. But I call it writing for the sake of getting rid of thoughts buzzing in my head. I don't regret that year, it has taught me a lot, and after Doraemon, I've never looked back.
By Padya, not a newbie, no yet a veteran

Getting rejected from RS the first time, one turned mad, but then as a placebo they decided to take one in next year. But they still wouldn't give me a typewriter.
By Mad Monkey

I used to read the paper every Thursday, envious of the writers whose names were written in bold after each article.

When I started work I was intimidated. Boy, was it hard coming up with ideas and trying to sound impressive so that your superiors don't fire you. I kept writing, yet everyone else was getting published. Until one day I open the paper and not one but TWO articles were followed by a “By Numaya”. The sense of achievement, the thought of the money or the fact that thousands of people would be reading (and maybe, enjoying) my writing. I didn't feel like the underdog anymore.
By Numaya, underdog, student.

Would I have become a writer had it not been for RS? Maybe. But it sure gave me a kick-start, by giving me a readership, and some seriously talented people to work with. Adding sub-editing and team management (never officially, alas) to the mix made me fall in love with the process of bringing out a publication. I was inspired to study journalism for my undergrads, and then go full-blown into creative writing afterwards. If this doesn't get me somewhere, RS, you and I have some talking to do.
By Sabrina Fatma Ahmad, Ex RS in-charge, writing after graduation from University of British Columbia

Working in RS helped me through one of the darkest times in my life. I had no clue what I wanted to be. It was scary. I got a huge boost of confidence the moment I got selected. I found crazy people like me on the team, perhaps even crazier.
By Nayeema Reza, IUB, loves pets

Crammed room. Daal bhuna. Delicious paratha. Weekend meetings! Life was good in those days. The first three years of my journalistic career was well spent with RS. Here, I learnt my first lesson on maintaining deadlines (though I still struggle), integrity and work ethics. I wish for a comeback, but was politely asked to bring back humour into my write-ups. But I say this, weekend meetings are never the same. And as for the daal bhuna, that's another story.
By Mannan Mashhur Zarif, now at DS Lifestyle

It was the first time I was part of a tradition. 10/20 days out of the year, there was someone's birthday and we'd have cakes at the meeting. I loved that. What really helped me grow however was the occasional exchange of books at the meetings and listening to the discussions in general. I was intimidated by how smart these people were but I also took away some lessons.
By Hitoishi Chakma, surfing, skydiving, studying Development studies in Australia.

Had it not been for RS, I'd still be the narcissistic brat that walked in for his first interview 7 years ago. Now I'm a narcissistic brat who knows how to work with people - more than shaping my writing skills, more than teaching me to maintain deadlines, this is where RS really helped me - putting me in touch with people. Devising plans to beat Osama up, underwear shopping with Hitoishi, rickshaw rides in the storm with Sabrina, coin toss with Emil to decide who the next sub-editor would be, buying pots and pans with Tareq for Ronny's wedding… you guys have really taught me a lot, and it helps me in my work to this day.
By Ahsan Ksajid, copywriter, part of marketing team at Daily Star, NSU student, content developer for a PR agency, no time for anything else.

It is conceivable that if a decent number of intelligent, creative people are gathered in a small space, enough ideas will be produced to create the better mousetrap. While RS never really pursued rat extermination in its entirety, I'm pretty sure it was discussed extensively at some point. And that is where the key aspect of working for RS lies. The fact that one could say whatever he wanted and still be part of the group. Judgment was left behind at the door. You were at all times encouraged to bring in your own unique viewpoint and if one were to pick up any issue of RS, the span of different ideas and peoples is in full view.
By Tareqius Primus, ex RS shot caller now studying bideshi Economics in bidesh (Boston)

Writing two articles every week for three years straight can do wonders for your writing. The only way to refine storytelling techniques is to do it over and over again, and that's exactly what RS gives you the opportunity to do. Not to mention that it's also where I met my best friends, with a nephew added to the mix. RS is a place where rat extermination is not only a relevant topic but also one of the tamer ideas. Other incidents are best left unsaid and behind closed doors, lest we let our minds wander.
By Shahriar S. Emil, doing artsy stuff as graphics designer while studying in Minnesota

RS is like second home. I literally grew up with RS and what it left me with isn't limited to better and more versatile writings, also lifelong friendships and wider windows of thoughts. I owe it to RS for bringing out the best and worst in us, teaching us to challenge ourselves and most importantly, find a lighter side in everything life has to offer. Oh, and what would meetings be without cake?
By Sabhanaz Rashid Diya, Media and Comm @ IUB where she talks more than the teachers.

RS was my first real job, my first pay check, the first time I felt like I truly deserved to buy my own, what was it again? Oh right, cake. Figures. What is with RS and cake? Okay let me point out some of the things that's “good s***” about RS:
1)Meetings: The discussion format is excellent. Helps with college courses. I'm more outspoken and buzzing with ideas because of all those RS meetings.
2) People: So weird. So different. So accepting. No way in hell can I forget these people, even if I wanted to.
3) Awesome ability to do research. About food, poop, movies, bugs, drugs, fetishes, poop…
4) Working for RS is “cool”, and I have been reminded that by strangers time and again.
By Nuzhat Kimi Arif, math major in Bryn Mawr with a side dish of drawing pictures ALL the time.

Damn, it's been more than a decade that I first wrote for RS. RS is definitely a part of who I've become. Getting suspended for writing politically incorrect stuff or having people email me to know my real name, there was never a dull moment in my 4 years there. Part of me misses those Saturday meetings - where I could just be who I am and let the world fly by.
By Hamdan Kabir, business studies at Stanford (the real one)



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